Patent fees involve a number of different charges based on the number of patents, size of the entity filing and more. Fees begin as low as $50 for so-called “micro-entities” submitting a single design, but can reach into thousands of dollars for larger organization filing large patent applications under different circumstances. Unpacking the fee schedule of a patent can be as complicated as developing the patent-able item itself, and it’s best to work with your attorney to most accurately estimate the cost.
A patent involves filing for protection of your unique design. This includes a trademark, which is a type of patent that relates to a distinctive symbol of the makers of certain products of services. The “golden arches” of fast food restaurant McDonald’s would be an example of trademark, preventing other businesses from using a similar design to market their food. The word “patent,” however, typically relates to an invention or unique product design, and works similarly to a trademark in preventing others from making the same product as if it were their own.
The cost involved in filing a patent relates to the filing process. First, a separate fee is charged for the application and the “examination” of that application. The application fee, as the name implies, is the cost of simply submitting your design to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Today, most designs are submitted as computer-assisted design (CAD) files, a way producing schematics of an invention digitally. A single digital design that is less than 300 megabytes (MB) in size can have an application fee ranging from $75 to $300.
That range of patent filing feel is determined by two things.
First, whether the application is for a design or utility–the former relates to a patent on how something appears or is made, while the latter protects the manner in which something is used. An example of a utility patent might involve a distinctive dimple on the back of a smartphone that makes its holding more comfortable, while a design patent might detail the design of that smartphone’s motherboard. The second part of the fee involves the person or organization submitting the application. The standard fee for applications range from $200 to $300. The USPTO also has two categories of lower-fee applications: “small entity” submitters pay $100 to $150, while a new “micro entity” filer will pay $50 to $75.
After the application fee, filers will typically also pay an “examination” fee. This is the fee involved for USPTO staff to look over the design to ensure it qualifies for patent protection. The regular fee for this examination is $600 for design and $760 for utility. Small entities receive a 50 percent discount, and micro entities receive a 75 percent discount, paying as little as $150.
There are other fees assessed based on possible factors related to the patent. Late filing fees, design files larger than 300 megabytes (MB), international patent searches, and other factors can incur additional fees, sometimes amounting to thousands of dollars. This is why working with a patent, or intellectual property, attorney is necessary. These experts are trained in this specific area of law and can work with inventors and companies to most accurately estimate the costs involved in protecting your work, as well as ensuring that the costs remain as low as possible.